Tips for Living in a Small Space with Pets (aka: Don't Be the "Smelly House Friend")

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We've all got friends like this (or maybe you're the friend). You go over to their house, and it's covered in pet hair and smells like a barn. There's no reason to blame the pets in this instance — there are certainly things that you can do, even living in a small space, that will keep you from being the "smelly house friend."

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1. Invest in a good vacuum.
It doesn't have to be expensive — just good. One of my favorites is the Bissel Bagless 12-Amp Upright Momentum Cyclonic, available at Loew's for $99. That one served me well for years, until I traded it in for a Dyson DC24 Ball Upright ($299.99), which works like magic — but yes, it's an investment. If you have a puppy, or an accident prone pet, look into some of the deep-cleaning, steam models like the Bissell 47A2 Deep Clean Premier Carpet Cleaner, $199.99. You'll save yourself a lot of scrubbing! Plus, lots of vacuum companies make special animal hair versions as well for some extra help.

2. Have some helpers for when you don't want to pull out the full-sized vacuum.
I have a Roomba iRobot that I program to run between cleanings (we've named her Rosie), and that definitely helps out in the pet hair department. These will cost you a pretty penny, however, so if you're not in the market for that, consider a handheld dustbuster or even a Swiffer if you have hardwood floors.

3. Catbox got you down?
Make sure to clean it regularly or invest in a self-cleaning box that will scoop automatically after your cat uses it. Store the box in a space that is used primarily for that purpose only. What if you don't have space? Consider these creative solutions for a prettier appearance and invest in a great air purifier to go right next to the box. Don't try to use non-odor absorbing deodorizers or air fresheners. Trust me, you'll just get used to the smell and won't notice how grossly overpowering it actually is. Or put the box near a window that can be left cracked to filter out odors.

4. Bathe your pet! Brush its teeth (or let it chew on pet dental items)! Feed it a high-quality diet!
A healthy pet is a happy, non-smelly pet. You'd be shocked at what a high-quality diet can do for their skin, coat and digestive system (and you know what an unhealthy digestive system smells like!)

5. If you're getting a new pet, look for a breed that is right for your space.
A non-shedding or smaller breed might be what's right for the space you're in. And no matter what breed you're looking for, consider adoption first. There's no need to go hunting for a purebred tiny. You'll most likely find that one at the shelter anyway.

6. Designate a spot just for your pet.
They like that anyway! My chihuahua, Grady, has her little heating pad and blankets at the end of the couch, where no one else sits. Another option — get your buddy his own little bed on the floor. Regardless of where it is, make it your pet's very own spot. You can clean/wash that area once a week to keep everything fresh, plus that will keep your friends' clothes pet hair free when they come over.

Got tips of your own? We want to hear them!    

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(Image by Andie Powers)

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